climate

Reason leads to self-preservation

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The air conditioner is nearly 100 years old, and yet it hasn’t evolved much — the technology is essentially the same as it was the day it was invented.

The cooling of our air is responsible for 10% of the planet’s electricity consumption. […] As the world heats, demand for air conditioners will only grow, especially in developing countries. This, in turn, will increase the impact that cooling appliances have on the climate, thus warming the Earth further and creating a vicious cycle. […] There are 1.2 billion room air conditioning units installed today, but that figure will soar to 4.5 billion by 2050. […]

A new coalition — led by India’s government and America’s Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a nonprofit environmental research organization — has launched the Global Cooling Prize, a $1-million competition to design the next generation of air cooling systems. […] The prize’s judges have shortlisted eight finalists, who will now build functioning prototypes that will be tested both in a lab and in real-world conditions at an apartment block in Delhi. […] Three of the eight finalists are from India, three are from the US and one each from the UK and China. […] The overall winner will be announced in November 2020.

{ CNN | Continue reading }

images { Lissajous knots }

‘I shall not speak, I shall not think: But endless love will mount in my soul.’ –Rimbaud

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To test the relationship between ambient temperature and personality, we conducted two large-scale studies in two geographically large yet culturally distinct countries: China and the United States. […] Our findings provide a perspective on how and why personalities vary across geographical regions beyond past theories (subsistence style theory, selective migration theory and pathogen prevalence theory). As climate change continues across the world, we may also observe concomitant changes in human personality.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

photo { Dana Lixenberg, J 50, 1993 }

And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried

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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is based on the theory that some depressions occur seasonally in response to reduced sunlight. SAD has attracted cultural and research attention for more than 30 years and influenced the DSM through inclusion of the seasonal variation modifier for the major depression diagnosis. This study was designed to determine if a seasonally related pattern of occurrence of major depression could be demonstrated in a population-based study. A cross-sectional U.S. survey of adults completed the Patient Health Questionnaire–8 Depression Scale. […] Depression was unrelated to latitude, season, or sunlight. Results do not support the validity of a seasonal modifier in major depression. The idea of seasonal depression may be strongly rooted in folk psychology, but it is not supported by objective data.

{ Clinical Psychological Science | Continue reading }

photo { Daido Moriyama }

How do we know for sure than dinosaurs weren’t always skeletons?

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Two options for dealing with climate change — reducing greenhouse gas emissions through a global agreement, and geoengineering proposals such as injecting sulfur into the stratosphere — tend to dominate current thinking. But there is a “third way” that is almost entirely neglected in political negotiations and public debate. It involves capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it or using it to create things we need.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Because you took advantage of a sinner

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A team of researchers has found that releasing excess heat from air conditioners running during the night resulted in higher outside temperatures, worsening the urban heat island effect and increasing cooling demands. 

{ Phys | Continue reading }

scan { Hans-Peter Feldmann, Catalogue, 2012 }

‘Life must be understood backwards.’ —Kierkegaard

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Does temperature affect economic performance? Has temperature always affected social welfare through its impact on physical and cognitive function? While many studies have explored the indirect links between climate and welfare (e.g. agricultural yield, violent conflict, or sea-level rise), few address the possibility of direct impacts operating through human physiology. This paper presents a model of labor supply under thermal stress, building on a longstanding physiological literature linking thermal stress to health and task performance. […]

We find that hotter-than-average years are associated with lower output per capita for already hot countries and higher output per capita for cold countries: approximately 3%-4% in both directions.

{ SSRN | Continue reading }

related { Ambient temperatures can influence the growth or loss of brown fat in people }

Krzysztof, a physics professor, has more faith in computers and logic than in God. It is winter. His son, Pawel, anxious to try out a new pair of skates, asks him if he can go out to the local pond which has just frozen over. Krzysztof determines that the ice is thick enough through a series of scientific calculations. Pawel goes skating, the ice breaks, and he drowns.

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{ Collapse of Antarctic ice sheet is underway and unstoppable but will take centuries | What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze? }

quote { Krzysztof Kieślowski, The Decalogue I, 1988 }

In my heart it’s always 98°

It’s so cold

-Polar bear is kept inside at zoo
-Some states colder than Antarctica

{ AP | Continue reading }

A fugitive prisoner turned himself in because it’s too cold outside.

{ NY Post | Continue reading }

This is what we have heard from him and are declaring to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.

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{ How to fix global warming before it’s too late | Is it too late to prepare for climate change? }

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him

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Analyzing data from 60 earlier studies, Solomon Hsiang from the University of California, Berkeley, found that warmer temperatures and extremes in rainfall can substantially increase the risk of many types of conflict. For every standard deviation of change, levels of interpersonal violence, such as domestic violence or rape, rise by some 4 percent, while the frequency of intergroup conflict, from riots to civil wars, rise by 14 percent. Global temperatures are expected to rise by at least two standard deviations by 2050, with even bigger increases in the tropics.

{ The Scientist | Continue reading }

What’s to be expected is 3 minus

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The unavoidable truth is that sea levels are rising and Miami is on its way to becoming an American Atlantis. It may be another century before the city is completely underwater (though some more-pessimistic­ scientists predict it could be much sooner), but life in the vibrant metropolis of 5.5 million people will begin to dissolve much quicker, most likely within a few decades. […]

South Florida is not the only place that will be devastated by sea-level rise. London, Boston, New York and Shanghai are all vulnerable, as are low-lying underdeveloped nations like Bangladesh. But South Florida is uniquely screwed, in part because about 75 percent of the 5.5 million people in South Florida live along the coast. And unlike many cities, where the wealth congregates in the hills, southern Florida’s most valuable real estate is right on the water.

{ Rolling Stones | Continue reading }

related { Global warming has slowed. The rate of warming of over the past 15 years has been lower than that of the preceding 20 years. There is no serious doubt that our planet continues to heat, but it has heated less than most climate scientists had predicted. | The Economist }

Into the eternal darkness, into fire and into ice

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Studies have shown that pleasant weather conditions (namely, sunshine) favor positive social relationships and improve moods. However, the effect of sunshine on one nonverbal expression that facilitates social relationships (namely, smiling) has never been studied. In a field experiment, men and women walking alone in the street were passed by a male or a female confederate who displayed a smile to the passersby. The contagion effect of smiling was measured. The study was carried out on days that were evaluated as being either sunny or cloudy, but precaution was taken to control the temperature and not to solicit participants when it rained. It was found that the display of a smile results in a smile more often on sunny days. The positive mood induced by the sun may explain such results.

{ Springer }

related { Sunscreen slows wrinkles: Will this evidence increase the use of sunscreen? }